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San Antonio Probate Blog

Stopping a decedent's mail during and after probate

While trying to close a loved one's estate, Texas executors may have to deal with some unexpected tasks. For instance, their deceased loved ones may continue to receive mail, which can become a nuisance. There are multiple ways to address this issue, depending on whether probate is still open or has been closed.

If probate proceedings are still open, the executor could utilize a service offered by the Direct Marketing Association. The service allows the executor or other loved one to input the deceased person's information into the "deceased do not contact" registration. Junk mail addressed to the deceased should decrease in approximately three months after registration. The executor could also inform specific organizations of the death in order to stop receiving mail.

How can I protect myself from power of attorney abuse?

When choosing a power of attorney agent, many people make what they think is a reasonable choice and name their eldest child or their closest friend. If you, as the principal, are considering this move, think carefully before you move forward. Are you making this decision because you genuinely believe the person you picked will efficiently handle your financial affairs or because you are afraid of hurting that person's feelings if you choose someone else?

A power of attorney is one of the most important designations you can make in your estate plan. Your agent will have control of your finances, your assets and your wellbeing if you should become infirm or incapacitated. Many famous and powerful people learned a very hard lesson after making a careless choice for their power of attorney.

Sibling fights are not an unusual cause of probate litigation

While coming together after the death of a loved one is often the hoped-for outcome, it is not always the reality. In fact, some family members may wind up in probate litigation due to disputes over the remaining estate. In particular, it is not unusual for siblings to fight over choices a deceased parent made or over remaining assets.

Some Texas residents may find themselves facing disputes over the person chosen as executor. Some siblings may take it as a sign that a parent liked one child more than the others, which can cause resentment. As a result, the other siblings could question the executor's every move and cause major delays in the probate process, and they may even feel the need to take legal action.

Business owners may worry about acting as probate executors

Being a Texas business owner means that a person already has a lot on his or her plate. If a loved one passes and the owner was named as executor of the estate, that person will have even more responsibilities to address. Probate takes a great deal of time and effort to complete, and executors may want to make sure they understand what is ahead.

One of the first questions a person may have about acting as executor may relate to whether he or she has to take on the position. Some people may feel a sense of obligation if a loved one wanted them to take on the role, but it is important to remember that the position can be declined. In some cases, individuals may not feel that they have the time or ability to address the necessary tasks, especially if their plates are already full of business-related duties or other personal obligations.

Woman may pursue probate litigation over mother's decision

Many people have dreams in life that simply do not pan out. Individuals may accept this outcome and move on with their lives. However, others may find out later that a loved one's actions prevented their dreams from coming true. In some cases, this information may not come to light until after the loved one's passing. As a result, probate litigation could take place in hopes of addressing damages.

Texas readers may be intrigued by such a case in another state. Reports indicated that after her mother's recent passing, a woman read the mother's diary and discovered that the mother had made a decision on behalf of the woman that changed her life. When she was 18 years old, the woman had won a contest due to her French-speaking abilities, and as a result, she had been offered full tuition to any university in France. However, the mother did not want her daughter to leave and sent a reply declining the offer.

Will you have to pay your deceased loved one's debts?

Fewer people today have the opportunity to pass away debt free. In most cases, an individual has at least one creditor. When it comes time to settle those accounts, you and other surviving family members may worry that they will be held legally responsible for the debts of their deceased loved one.

In general, the estate will be responsible for paying any outstanding debts of the decedent. The executor may sell assets of the estate to pay debts. When a creditor does not receive payment from that source, he or she may attempt to find someone else to pay the debt. Whether a debt owed by your loved one falls on you to pay depends on certain factors.

Probate litigation involves claims of murder

After a family member's passing, discontent among surviving family is not unusual. In many cases, heirs may fight over the remaining estate, even if the deceased left a will. In particular, if one individual feels cheated, he or she may feel that probate litigation is necessary in hopes of reaching a more desirable outcome.

Texas readers may be interested in this type of dispute currently underway in another state. The situation involves two brothers and began after their mother died from drowning in a hot tub in 2016. One brother was named the personal representative in their mother's will and is also set to inherit the majority of her remaining estate. However, the other brother believes that he would have been favored more if his mother had not died suddenly.

Order of priority important when dealing with debt during probate

Acting as executor often means that an individual will have to delve deeply into the personal affairs of another person, typically a family member or other close loved one. While many people may willingly take on such a role, probate can come with many complexities, and some estate details can make the process more difficult than others. For instance, if a Texas executor is dealing with an insolvent estate, he or she may have extra work.

With an insolvent estate, the amount of debt left behind by an individual exceeds the assets of the estate. Even individuals with a considerable amount of wealth can leave behind this type of scenario. For instance, if a person bought an expensive home, an unpaid mortgage could present debt issues.

Can probate litigation take place even with no-contest clauses?

It is not unusual for surviving family members to feel disgruntled with the manner in which a loved one may have distributed assets in his or her will. In some cases, this dissatisfaction could lead to probate litigation as individuals attempt to obtain an outcome that they feel better suits the circumstances. Litigation could also come about in the event that Texas families suspect that a will may be invalid.

Because litigation can tie up probate for years, some individuals may attempt to lessen the likelihood of will contests by including no-contest clauses in their wills. Typically, these clauses will include some type of element intended to dissuade individuals from contesting the document. For instance, a testator may state that if a person contests the will, then that person will forfeit any inheritance to which he or she may have been entitled.

Executors face a great deal of responsibility during probate

The passing of a loved one often signals a number of changes in surviving family members' lives. It also means that a great deal of obligations will need attending to, including closing the deceased's estate. The probate process can be long and tedious, and the appointed executor will need to address the necessary responsibilities.

When a Texas resident is named as an executor, he or she takes on a fiduciary role. This means that the person has the obligation to remain trustworthy and take actions that will benefit the estate and its beneficiaries. The individual also has the responsibility of understanding the decedent's final wishes, and carrying out those wishes as dictated in the will or other related documents.

Aldrich Law Firm, PLLC

Aldrich Law Firm, PLLC
909 NE Loop 410
Suite 602
San Antonio, TX 78209

Phone: 210-418-1150
Fax: 210-598-7221

909 NE Loop 410 Suite 602
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